Symptom : Nausea Vomiting And Diarrhoea
Many people experience digestive system problems as a symptom of the early stages of HIV. However, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea can also appear in later stages of infection, usually as the result of an opportunistic infection.
It is important to stay hydrated. Diarrhoea that is unremitting and not responding to usual therapy might be an indication of HIV, and it would be best to seek the advice of a doctor to help determine its cause.
What Does Hiv Do To A Person
HIV infects white blood cells of your immune system called CD4 cells, or helper T cells. It destroys CD4 cells, causing your white blood cell count to drop. This leaves you with an immune system that cant fight off infections, even those that wouldnt normally make you sick.
HIV initially makes you feel sick with flu-like symptoms. Then it can hide in your body for a long time without causing noticeable symptoms. During that time, it slowly destroys your T-cells. When your T-cells get very low or you begin to get certain illnesses that people with healthy immune systems dont get, HIV has progressed to AIDS.
AIDS can cause rapid weight loss, extreme tiredness, mouth or genital ulcers, fevers, night sweats and skin discolorations. Other illnesses and cancers often happen in people living with AIDS and can cause additional symptoms.
Whats a retrovirus?
A retrovirus is a virus that works backward from the way human cells do. Human cells have instructions that send a message to make building blocks for your body .
Retroviruses have their instructions written on RNA. When a retrovirus invades your cells, it changes its RNA to look like your cells instructions . Then it cuts your cells DNA and inserts its instructions into them. Your cell then acts as though the virus instructions are its own.
How Can A Woman Reduce Her Chances Of Contracting Hiv
HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids like blood and semen. Using injection drugs, having unprotected sex and having multiple sex partners increases the chances of acquiring HIV. The only way to be absolutely certain you do not become infected with HIV is to not have sex and not use injection drugs. You also can avoid infection by only having one sex partner as long as your partner does not have HIV and has sex only with you. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention , using a male or female condom every time you have vaginal or anal sex can greatly lower your risk of infection. Using condoms for oral sex will reduce your risk for other STDs as well. It also is important not to douche, since douching removes some of the normal vaginal bacteria that can protect you from infection.
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Symptoms Of The Early Stages Of Hiv
Symptoms of HIV can vary between individuals however the first signs of infection generally appear within the first 1-2 months. Many, but not all, people will experience severe flu-like symptoms which is your bodys natural response to the virus. This is called the seroconversion period.
Its during this time that its crucial to identify if HIV is the cause, as your viral load is very high which greatly increases the risk of passing it on. And the only way to know for sure is by getting tested.
When Do Symptoms Occur
Some people have flu-like symptoms within two to four weeks after infection, but others may not feel sick or not develop symptoms at all until later.
See a healthcare provider if you have symptoms of HIV and think you may have been exposed to HIV. Getting tested for HIV is the only way to know for sure.
In the United States, HIV is spread mainly through having anal or vaginal sex or sharing needles or syringes with an HIV-positive partner. Anal sex is the highest-risk behavior.
You can prevent HIV by using condoms correctly every time you have sex pre-exposure prophylaxis, a prevention method in which the HIV-negative partner takes daily HIV medicine to prevent HIV and treatment as prevention, a method in which the HIV-positive partner takes daily HIV medicine to achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load.
Only antigen/antibody tests or nucleic acid tests can diagnose acute HIV infection. NATs look for actual virus in the blood, and antigen/antibody tests look for HIV antibodies and antigens. Antibodies are produced by your immune system when youre exposed to viruses like HIV, and antigens are foreign substances that cause your immune system to activate.
However, no test can detect HIV immediately after infection. NATs can usually tell if you have an HIV infection 10 to 33 days after exposure, while antigen/antibody tests can tell 18 to 45 days after exposure.
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers or sores
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Remind Me: What Is Hiv
HIV short for human immunodeficiency virus is a virus that affects the immune system more specifically, white blood cells known as CD4 cells, or T-cells, that are part of the immune system.
Because HIV attacks the immune system itself, the immune system is not able to mount a defensive response against this virus the way it can for other viruses. It also means that a person with HIV is more susceptible to other infections, illnesses, and diseases.
HIV can be transmitted from person to person through contact with blood, semen, or vaginal fluids that contain the virus.
HIV vs. AIDS
HIV is not synonymous with AIDS. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , also known as stage 3 HIV. Its a late stage of HIV when the immune system cells have been so badly damaged that the body is no longer able to fight off infection.
Thanks to modern medicine, with proper treatment, its incredibly uncommon for HIV to progress to AIDS. .
Before we do a more in-depth discussion about the symptoms of HIV, its important to understand that left untreated HIV can progress through the following three stages, each of which has a group of associated symptoms.
- Stage 1: acute illness
Below, a complete breakdown of the most common symptoms by stage.
We Know That Men Who Have Sex With Men In Illinois Are At Higher Risk For Hiv What About Women Who Have Sex With Women
It is not a personâs gender, sexual orientation, race or class that puts them at risk for HIV. People are at risk for HIV when they practice risky behaviors. Women who identify as lesbian or gay can be at risk for HIV by practicing any of the behaviors that place women at risk. Lesbian women have become infected with HIV by using injection drugs or having unprotected sex with male or female partners who are already infected with HIV. Women who have sex with other women should follow guidelines in this fact sheet to protect themselves, and can call the Illinois AIDS/HIV/STD Hotline at 800-243-AIDS for specific information.
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How Common Is Hiv
At the end of December 2019, there were 326 reports of HIV diagnoses in Scotland. Of these, 167 were first-ever HIV diagnoses and 158 had been previously diagnosed outwith Scotland, but were newly reported in Scotland during 2019. It’s estimated that there are 6,122 individuals living with HIV in Scotland and of these 92% have been diagnosed. A total of 5,074 are attending specialist HIV treatment and care services. Of these, 98% are receiving antiretroviral therapy with 95% achieving an undetectable viral load.
The three groups with highest rates of HIV are:
- gay and bisexual men or other men who have sex with men
- people from countries with high HIV prevalence, especially sub Saharan African countries
- people who share injecting equipment or who have sex with people who inject drugs
The World Health Organisation estimates that around 36.9 million people in the world are living with HIV.
If I Am Pregnant And Have Hiv Will My Baby Also Have Hiv
Most women with HIV can protect their baby from becoming infected during pregnancy. Proper pre-natal treatment can reduce the risk that an HIV-positive mother will pass the virus to her child to less than 1 percent. The only way these special treatments can be provided is if the health care professionals know the mother is living with HIV. Treatment is most effective when started early in pregnancy. HIV-positive moms should not breastfeed their babies because HIV is sometimes passed this way.
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If You Have Hiv Does Your Baby Need Special Medical Care After Birth
Yes. If you have HIV, your baby gets a medicine called zidovudine within 6 to 12 hours after birth to protect her from any HIV that may have passed to her during birth. A baby usually gets zidovudine for 4 to 6 weeks after birth. Then your baby gets medicine called sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim to help prevent Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia . PCP is common in people with HIV. If your babys HIV tests show she doesnt have HIV, this treatment stops. If testing shows that your baby has HIV, she starts ART.
Your baby gets a blood test for HIV at:
- 2 to 3 weeks after birth
- 1 to 2 months of age
- 4 to 6 months of age
You need results from at least 2 blood tests to know for sure if your baby has HIV:
- To know that your baby doesnt have HIV, results from two tests must be negative. The first negative result has to be from a test done when your baby is 1 month or older. The second result has to be from a test done when your baby is 4 months or older.
- To know that your baby has HIV, results from two blood tests must be positive.
Most babies with HIV can get all routine childhood vaccinations. Vaccinations are shots that contain vaccines that help protect your baby from certain diseases. Some babies with HIV shouldnt get live-virus vaccines, like the chickenpox vaccine or the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine . Talk to your babys provider to find out which vaccines are safe for your baby.
Can Hiv/aids Be Prevented
You can reduce the risk of spreading HIV by:
- Getting tested for HIV.
- Choosing less risky sexual behaviors. This includes limiting the number of sexual partners you have and using latex condoms every time you have sex. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.
- Getting tested and treated for sexually transmitted diseases .
- Not injecting drugs.
- Talking to your health care provider about medicines to prevent HIV:
- PrEP is for people who don’t already have HIV but are at very high risk of getting it. PrEP is daily medicine that can reduce this risk.
- PEP is for people who have possibly been exposed to HIV. It is only for emergency situations. PEP must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV.
NIH: National Institutes of Health
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Is There Any Treatment Of A Cure For Hiv/aids
Currently, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. People living with HIV will need lifelong treatment. The best treatments right now are combinations of prescription drugs. These medications include antiviral treatment, protease inhibitors and other drugs that help people who are living with HIV stay healthy. People living with HIV also can stay healthy by doing things like eating properly, exercising and getting enough sleep.
When To Seek Medical Care
Early diagnosis is key. If you think youve been exposed to HIV or have an encounter that put you at risk for HIV, you should seek medical care right away with a primary care doctor, urgent or walk-in clinic, or, if those are not available to you, a local emergency room.
Doctors can give you a medication called post-exposure prophylaxis after exposure to reduce your chances of developing HIV. But this medication needs to be taken within 72 hours of exposure. Ideally, youd start taking it within the first 24 hours.
If you think you were exposed to HIV in the past for example, if a former sexual partner tells you they have HIV its critical to seek medical care as soon as possible. The sooner you find out you have HIV, the sooner you can start treatment.
People Of All Genders And Sexual Orientations Can Contract Hiv
HIV is a human disease, meaning anyone can contract it, says Rymland.
Unfortunately, due to the virus early nomenclature as GRID, or Gay Related Immune Deficiency, its wrongly assumed to affect only gay men.
Sadly, says Rymland, this pervasive stigma prevents non-gay men, as well as other-gendered individuals, from protecting themselves against HIV transmission or even getting tested for STIs.
People of all sexual orientations need to be educated about their risk and informed on how to protect themselves, she says. And that includes being educated about PrEP, a safe and effective medication for preventing HIV thats not well known outside of the gay community.
How common is HIV in men?
Globally, men make up about 47 percent of cases. However, research published in 2018 found that men in the United States made up
HIV is typically diagnosed with a blood test. Though, it can also be diagnosed with oral fluid or urine.
Most commonly, healthcare professionals will order one of the following tests:
- nucleic acid test : looks for viral load in blood
- antigen/antibody test: looks for both antibodies and antigens in blood
- antibody test: looks for antibodies in the blood
It typically takes a few days for NAT and antigen/antibody tests to provide results. But there are rapid antibody screening tests and rapid antigen/antibody tests that take 30 minutes or less.
Sharing Needles And Injecting Equipment
If you inject drugs, you shouldn’t share needles, syringes or other injecting equipment such as spoons and swabs as this could expose you to HIV and other viruses found in the blood, such as hepatitis C.
Many local authorities and pharmacies offer needle exchange programmes, where used needles can be exchanged for clean ones.
A GP or drug counsellor should be able to advise you about free injecting equipment provision including needles.
If you are having a tattoo or piercing, it’s important that a clean, sterilised needle is always used.
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Early Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
How long does it take to show symptoms of HIV? Some people experience flu-like symptoms at the start of an HIV infection. These early HIV symptoms usually develop within 2-4 weeks in an infected person and may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. This early stage of the viral infection is known as an acute HIV infection.
Possible early symptoms include:
- Night sweats
- Mouth ulcers
Itâs worth keeping in mind that such early symptoms can also be caused by other health conditionsânot just HIV. In short, if youâre experiencing these symptoms, it doesnât necessarily mean that you have HIVâwhich is why STI testing and consulting with your healthcare provider can be helpful next steps to take.
Where Can You Get Tested For Hiv
You can get an HIV test from:
- Your health care provider. As part of your prenatal care , your provider tests your blood for infections, like HIV and other STIs, that can affect your pregnancy.
- Clinics, AIDS services organizations, substance abuse programs and community health centers
- Some pharmacies
To find a testing site near you:
- Text your ZIP code to KNOW IT .
- Contact your local health department for more information.
You also can test yourself for HIV. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two HIV tests you can do on your own:
The companies that make home HIV tests can connect you with counselors who can answer questions about follow-up testing or treatment. See the information that comes with your home test to find out how to contact a counselor.
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Symptom : Swollen Lymph Nodes Achy Muscles And Joint Pain
Lymph nodes are part of your bodys immune system and protect your blood by getting rid of bacteria and viruses. They tend to get inflamed when theres an infection. Many of them are located in your armpit, groin and neck which can result in aches and pains in these areas.
Given these symptoms are common across many viral infections, they alone are not a reliable way to determine if the infection you are experiencing is HIV.
What Happens At Stage 2
This is also called the asymptomatic stage. Once you have been through the acute primary infection stage and seroconversion process, you can often start to feel better. HIV may not cause any other symptoms for up to 10 or even 15 years.
However, the virus will still be active, infecting new cells and making copies of itself. HIV can still be passed on during this stage. If left untreated, HIV infection will cause severe damage to the immune system.
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